Look in the Mirror, Congress

Post Date: June 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — FAMM President Julie Stewart released the following statement this morning as the new bipartisan Task Force on Overcriminalization in the U.S. House of Representatives kicked off its first hearing:

“When I learned first learned that House Judiciary Committee leaders planned to create the new Overcriminalization Task Force, I was cautiously optimistic. I appreciate that members of Congress seem to recognize that the growing number of federal crimes has gotten out of hand. I am glad that many members realize that criminal laws must have a clear intent requirement so that innocent or unknowing conduct is not punished. And I am gratified that at least some members of the Task Force recognize that broad new crime laws are ten times worse when they carry lengthy mandatory minimum prison sentences. 

“However, less than 24 hours before this morning’s Overcriminalization Task Force hearing, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on a new immigration bill that expands the federal criminal code, creates a crime without including an intent requirement, and establishes new and expands existing mandatory minimum sentencing provisions that will cost taxpayers lots of money without producing any public safety benefit. Not to be outdone, the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved a new federal law to crack down on people who steal street signs and cemetery urns.

“It’s like the old joke where the patient goes to the doctor and says, “Hey Doc, it hurts when I do this.”  And the doctor replies, “Don’t do that.”  If House Judiciary Committee leaders think we have too many federal crime laws, and that these laws are vague and duplicative, then they should stop passing them.  They really don’t need expert witnesses to find the cause of overcriminalization. They need a mirror.”

For Immediate Release on June 14, 2013. Contact: Monica Pratt Raffanel, media@famm.org

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